Decatur, GA — A community-based mobile library service that provided books for children during lockdown has come to an end this month.
Georgia Hill, a garden designer and mother in the Medlock Park neighborhood, started the mobile library in March after schools and public libraries closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I figured that other people’s kids were just as bored as mine were, stuck at home with nothing to read since all the local libraries had closed,” Hill said. She and her sons, 11-year-old Lucas and 9-year-old Sascha, gathered books they had already read and collected donations from friends and neighbors.
Hill distributed the books from the back of her minivan, visiting houses on pre-arranged appointments.
“I have had many families tell me that this has been the highlight of the summer for their kids,” Hill said. “Also many mothers have told me that they now have gotten to know other families on their street because of the library. … So in a time of isolation which is especially hard on children and their parents, our mobile library has brought people together, in a safe, socially-distanced manner.”
Hill is hoping the public library system will revive the long-time tradition of mobile libraries should another lockdown be put into place. She also hopes to inspire other families to put together similar operations in their neighborhoods.
As of this week, the Dekalb County library system is reopening for curbside pickups, so the Hill family is shuttering their impromptu mobile library, for now, the last visits being July 28, 2020.
“It’s great that we will all have access to books again, but the isolation is still there. As families enter the forthcoming virtual learning phase, soon to be in place for much of Atlanta, the social isolation is only going to get more intense,” Hill said. “For our community’s mental health, we need a way to be together in a way that is safe during the pandemic, and the library was the answer for us this summer.”
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